Urban Get Home Bag

How to pack a "Get Home Bag"
Build a bag to get you home from within a 60 mile radius

Build a bag to get you home!
Many preppers have a bugout bag, but they overlook the need
for a get home bag. A get home bag is a backpack filled with
survival gear and supplies to get you home safely in an
emergency. It's the gear you bring when you travel or to have
at the office in case you have to make it home on foot.

If you're serious about survival you'll have a get home bag.

What is a "Get Home" Bag?
It may seem fairly simple, but get a home bag has one simple
purpose: to get you home! It's the gear you need in an urban
setting, which is why some call it an Urban Get Home Bag.
Unlike a
bugout bag, which you should pack as though it's the
last factory made gear you'll ever own, a get home bag has the
specific purpose of getting you safely home from work, school
(or where ever you may travel 60 miles away from home or

A Get Home Bag is different from a Bugout Bag. Each bag has a
different objective:

  • Bugout Bag: The Bugout Bag is a grab and go bag to get
    you out of "Dodge" ~ away from the central point of
    danger in an emergency. Pack your bugout bag as though it
    was the last piece of gear you'll ever own. Items should
    help you hunt and fish, filter raw water and survive in the
    wilderness. It should have first aid and firestarting gear.

  • Get Home Bag: The Get Home Bag is with you at the
    office, at school or in your car to help you get home to
    help you defend and protect your family. Food and supplies
    could last you 5 days or more. It's also a grab and go bag,
    but the objective is focused on getting you home. It
    should include a sturdy pair of shoes, which you may not
    be wearing at the office, ready to eat foods and shelter for
    an urban environment. It's more lightweight with ready-to-
    eat food bars, flashlight, water pouches and a water
    filtration device so you could secure potable water from

Any path you journey beyond 60 miles requires a bugout bag.
Depending on your locale, you may pack a get home bag
primarily for urban survival; whereas your bugout bag may
include wilderness survival gear as well.

How to Build a Better "Get Home"' Bag
Build a day-pack to get you home from within a 60-mile radius
of home. While there is a lot of survival gear you could include
in your get home bag, if you had to pair it down to three things,
then these items will help get you home (incidentally, this rule
of three also pertains to your bugout bag):
  1. a quality fixed blade knife
  2. metal water container and
  3. a fire starter (preferably a BIC lighter)
Plan on wearing your sturdy pair of shoes to walk home.

What to put in your Urban Get Home Bag
Just about every prepper has assembled a bugout bag or two to
help them "get out of Dodge," but few have put together a get
home bag. If you're a student, a commuter or find yourself far
away from home often to run errands, then get ready to get
your "get home bag" together now!

Here's an overview of what to put in your get home bag:
  1. BIC lighter
  2. Bivvy (an emergency sleeping bag)
  3. Cash
  4. Chemlights (military glow sticks)
  5. Compass and map to navigate walking routes
  6. Cookset (or metal camp cup) and utensils
  7. Change of clothes, particularly socks and warm
  8. Energy nuggets or chews
  9. Electrolytes or oral hydration tablets
  10. First aid kit with bandages, pain relievers, ointment,
    gauze tape, and sanitary gloves.
  11. Fresnel lens
  12. Firestarter (in addition to BIC lighter) and tinder
  13. Food bars
  14. Freeze dried food ~ pouches for 5 days
  15. Hygiene kit
  16. Knife ~ (e.g. Blackbird SK-5, Becker BK2, MoraKniv
  17. Moleskin for dealing with blisters
  18. Multitool like a leatherman
  19. MRE
  20. N95 Mask
  21. Rain notebook and pencil
  22. Paracord
  23. portable stove
  24. Poncho for rain
  25. Pocket-sized weather radio
  26. Self-defense items of choice
  27. Tactical flashlight and a headlamp
  28. Tarp that's lightweight
  29. Toilet paper tablets
  30. Water pouches
  31. Water filter like Lifetstraw or Sawyer
  32. Whistle
  33. Work gloves: You may need to forge your way
    through obstacles

Get Home Bag Supply #1: Select a Small, low-
profile backpack.
Get going on your get home bag ~ start with a day pack and
add the essentials to get you home. Make sure the daypack you
pick blends into your environment. Select an unassuming bag,
such as a gym bag that converts with shoulder straps. Women
might choose a backpack-style purse, or a pretty pink or purple
daypack that makes you look like tourist. Men might choose a
"man bag" (something they might not ordinarily wear) to appear
as though there's only work gear inside. The red backpack right,
is a bit loud in color, but it has the key advantage of solar
power to aid in communications.

A good option is a traveler's messenger bag or backpack with
anti-slash straps. Sometimes there are also special straps for
wearing a backpack across the shoulders, which minimizes the
risk someone will pry it off from behind. Travelers bags also
have compartments, which are secured on the inside of your
back so that a person coming from behind you can't access the
pockets from the outside. Anyone who has travelled to a third
world country has been warned about the slashers who prey on
unsuspecting tourists. Certainly, there will be desperate people
in an SHTF-scenario, who will see you have supplies and want
your backpack. Plan ahead.

Black Scout Survival shows you a low profile bugout bag:
Above, Black Scout Survival imparts knowledge on how to make an urban
Get Home Bag.

Get Home Bag Supply #2: Shoes, work gloves.
One of the most important parts of your Get Home Bag is a
sturdy pair of shoes and a pair of work gloves. You may be
hiking for 30-60 miles to get home, as well there may be broken
glass or obstacles in your path towards home so a sturdy pair of
shoes is paramount. A fresh change of socks is also important
as you will get blisters from moisture. Wool is an excellent
material for your socks. Another military trick is to wear
pantyhose underneath the socks to help avoid friction and
  • Pack a extra socks! Learn the value of sock in survival.
  • Paracord. Remember that paracord can improvise shoe
    laces or you can wear paracord as shoe laces.
  • Work gloves to help you get over barbed wire or overcome
    other obstacles.

Get ready to walk home. In his book, Hawkes Special Forces
Survival Handbook, Mykel Hawke tells readers to hope for
rescue, but to plan on walking home. This is the first
consideration for getting a get home bag. Make sure you pack a
sturdy pair of walking shoes to take advantage of Mykel's
cogent advice.

Get Home Bag Supply #3: A fixed blade knife.
Even in an urban environment you'll want to pack a fixed blade
knife in your Get Home Bag, The fixed blade knife, right, is a
quality fixed blade knife (blackbird SK-5, Becker BK2). Knives
are handy for protection and for cutting your way out of a
situation. You never know what perils might be in your path on
the way home.

Get Home Bag Supply #4: Firestarter.
While you can get fancy with a firestarter, the best firestarter
for a get home bag, is a BIC lighter and some light weight
water proof matches. The government issue magnesium fire
starter, pictured left, is heavier, though an excellent backup.
The purpose of a get home bag is to get home within 72 hours.
Your BIC lighter should last through your journey and your
waterproof matches can be your backup.

Get Home Bag Supply #5: A metal water container.
The metal water container, right, doubles as a cooking pot, and
includes utensils.Water is life. Your get home bag should not
only include a metal water container to boil your water, but a
way to filter and purify your water.

Get Home Bag Supply #6: Water pouches, straw.
A simple hydration straw can help you drink from decorative city
fountains or lakes, but you should also pack
water pouches.  
Water Straws like the Lifestraw Water Filter are a bit of work to
use, but they will ensure you have potable water if you can find
a water source.

Get Home Bag Supply #7: Defense (firearms, knife,
Many preppers open carry, but not everyone can carry firearms,
in such cases alternative means of defense are necessary. Top
on the urban survival list of self defense weapons outside of
firearms is a knife and
pepper spray!

While the fixed blade knife offer preppers a level of security,
preppers should begin their journey with pepper spray in hand
and do all possible to steer clear of crowds and avoid catching
attention. Something to keep in mind is that tasers may not
work in an Electromagnetic pulse situation, but prepper spray
requires only the force of your hand.

Get Home Bag Supply #8 Compass and maps.
Certainly on the wilderness survival list, a compass will also
keep your journey on track in urban environments. Navigating
your way back home may require alternate routes, possibly
through wilderness and you wouldn't want to waste valuable
energy and time heading in the wrong direction. A compass will
help you "get home from Dodge." Right is a respected military
lensatic compass. Learn how to use one.

Get Home Bag Supply #9: LED Flashlight or
The flashlight for your get home bag is entirely different from
what you'd pack in your bugout bag.

A headlamp will help light the way home and keep your hands
free. Navigating your way home, may require you travel through
unlit tunnels or without the help of street lights. It may be
safer to travel by night or too hot to travel by day.

Get Home Bag Supply #10: A Bivvy and Mylar
Mylar blankets retain and reflect 90% of body heat and is
lightweight. You'll be able to use the material as lightweight
tarp in addition to using it as a blanket.

Get Home Bag Supply #11 Small First aid kit.
Essential to survival, the first aid kit should be lightweight and
yet pack essentials in the
seven areas of prepper first aid.
Below, the bright orange first aid kit will be easy to spot in your
bugout bag to help you provide critical first aid. Chapstick is an
essential addition to the first aid kit.

Get Home bag Supply #12: Survival food.
Alas, food is important fuel to get you back home where you
belong! While you could pack freeze dried meals, you may not
have an opportunity set up camp in urban environments. That's
why it's more important for your get home bag to include:
  • Hard candies and gum will provide a burst of energy and
    are lightweight. Right are Gatorade Energy Chews. They
    are lightweight and will provide you with what you need to
    go the extra mile.
  • drink mixes and tea bags* (or instant coffee if you can boil
  • beef jerky
  • Food bars  
  • GORP is ideal also, but you'll need a plan to constantly
    replace it to keep fresh (nuts don't last very long).
  • Freeze dried chicken from Legacy Farms (it comes in a bag
    and can be eaten without reconstituting in water).

You may need to travel 10 miles a day so plan hearty meals
accordingly and store water for your food along the way. Your
journey could take six days to travel 60 miles!

What personal gear will you need to survive the
journey home?
  • Chapstick or your favorite lipbalm is an odd survival tool,
    but there are many uses. Yes, use for your lips, but also as
    a potential fuel source (because it's a petroleum product)
    and even to help you deal with cuts!
  • Eye wear
  • Tea bags. Tea bags are often included in first aid and
    survival kits. The tannins in tea have an astringent quality
    to reduce inflammation. Moisten a tea bag and apply to:
  • Soothe bleeding gums and canker sores
  • Reduce inflammation and appearance of bruises and
  • Relieve pain and itch of insect bites
  • Pacify poison oak and poison ivy rash
  • Alleviate pain of blisters
  • Allay sunburn

Want to see another "get home bag"?
Still looking for ideas on how to pack your get home gag for
emergencies? TheUrbanPrepper, from Seattle, shows his "get
home bag" in two parts:
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What's in your get home bag?
Get ready to get your "get home bag"  together now! What is a Get
Home Bag? Unlike a bugout bag, a get home bag has the purpose
of getting you home within a 60 mile radius. Anything beyond that
requires a bugout bag.

Packing your Get Home Bag for emergencies is a bit like a bugout
bag, but it has different objectives. You now know that a bugout
bag will get you "Out of Dodge" and a Get Home Bag will get you
back home if you are stuck at work, school or other excursion and
emergency strikes.

Just like your Bugout Bag, every item in your Get Home Bag should
have dual purpose.

Happy endings...
The good and happy news is that if you've planned well, your get
home bag will get you home to help your family or group deal with
the next phase of the catastrophe. Think of the get-home bag as
your own personal insurance plan.

The best bug out bag contents or get home contents are the things
you pack yourself. This is because you will be intimately familiar
with what's inside the bag and where it's packed when you need it.

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